Following reports of discontent from Kerala Blasters, the state government has vowed to intervene and iron out issues. Sports Minister E.P. Jayarajan said that the state government was in full support of the team but certain stakeholders were failing to do the same. There were reports that the police and other government agencies were working against the interest of the team and that the Blasters might shift their home ground from Kochi in the seventh season of the Indian Super League.
“There seems to be many hindrances right from permission to play matches. This is a cause of concern. The government will hold talks with Kerala Blasters authorities and other stakeholders involved in conducting the matches. Kochi boasts the most number of ISL spectators. It is our pride that we have a team in the league which is gathering attention around the world. We need to do lot more to ensure matches are conducted properly and the spectators have a good time”, said the Jayarajan.
There are also reports that Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan may also get involved in the talks. Vijayan is expected to interfere if there is no breakthrough following talks between the sports minister and the stakeholders.
There were also reports earlier that football enthusiasts were unhappy with the overcharging of food, beverages and packaged water during the ISL matches. Fans were also angered by the seating arrangements at the Jawaharlal Nehru International Stadium where the Kerala Blasters play their home games.
A large number of ticket holders couldn't find seats at their designated sections and had to stand on the tightly-packed staircases to watch the game. “I purchased two tickets online to watch the season opener between Kerala Blasters and ATK with my son. We entered the stadium about an hour before kick-off, but failed to find seating at the block mentioned in the ticket. We were forced to watch the entire match standing in a crowded aisle,” lamented a football fan from Kollam.
The fiasco seems to have been orchestrated by the Kerala Police who let in ticketless people into the stadium in retaliation to not being given complimentary tickets in bulk. “Genuine fans were left to suffer as the police personnel deployed at entry gates allowed ticketless persons to enter the stadium. They did it in protest against the management's refusal to offer them complimentary tickets in bulk. This is pure blackmailing tactic from the cops,” a representative of the franchise's management said on condition of anonymity.